7/17/16 – Courmayeur to Refugio Bonatti

Day 4 on the TMB trail notes.

As noted in the last email, we expected a shorter easier day on this day. We were correct in one aspect as it turned out to be only 9.5 miles or so. We were wrong in thinking that would be a rather quick, easy trip. It was our hardest day so far.

Getting out of Courmayuer, one has two options. Steep or “maybe they should put a ladder on this trail.” We did a little over 5,000 feet in about 6 miles. There were some scary ridge crossings that caused M some alarm but she soldiered on bravely. I was very proud of her because she is not a fan of paths that are only 4 feet wide with massive drops on either side.

We had decided not to run too much this day because we wanted to eat some of the bigger breakfast on offer at Hotel Dolonne. It turned out that it didn’t matter what we decided because the terrain would have prevented most running anyway, especially laden with heavy packs as we were. We did manage to run some of the route, but in our opinion we moved as fast and efficiently as we could have hoped for on such a tough day. M noted that it was our longest 10 mile day ever since it took us just over 4 hours.

Refugio Bonatti finally appeared so we put on a burst of speed in our excitement to be done for the day. You can find pictures of the hut on the interweb, but I can tell you they do not come close to doing the views the justice they deserve.

As the crow flies, the mountains are about a mile across the valley. The mountains are so big though that it looks like they are much closer and are about to fall over on top of you. Hopefully some of the pictures will give some idea of the size and majesty of this place.

This night was our first encounter with other Americans and there were quite a few of them. The first person we met was a girl we had passed on the trail who is from NYC. Next came a girl from Texas who was staying in the same room as us. We found it odd that both girls were alone but they both seemed adventurous. Also in our room for the night were two other American girls who were traveling together, and a Scottish man and his wife. Our dinner consisted of a salad followed by mashed potatoes with turkey. Also included were some bell peppers and onions. It was very filling and I had three helpings of everything. For the first time in this trip M and I had a dessert that we could not identify in any way but it was tasty.

We have another long day on Monday so it’s off to bed now.

The view across the valley
Refugio Bonatti
Almost down!
We just have to make it down to that saddle…

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